Monday 19 December 2011
We admired, but did not sample, the various fairground rides set up for the enjoyment of the Christmas shoppers. We thought the Crazy Croc looked particularly unsuitable for children emerging replete from burger bars, but then neither of us much enjoyed that kind of thing when young (though I do remember an illicit trip to the Great Yarmouth funfair, over which - on reflection - I prefer to draw a veil)
We also noted the clock tower, erected to celebrate the coronation of George V, and with two of its niches occupied, one by the King, and one by William Morris, the local designer, whose Red House is just up the road. Coming away from the many bus stops of the centre, we turned left along Bexleyheath Broadway, and then darted (if a large bus may be said to dart) into the area around the Library, or rather 'LibraryPlus'. After this little wiggle, we headed out of town, quite steeply downhill, to cross the A2, which looked quite busy.
Now we were into mainly residential areas, crossing the River Shuttle Way as we went. While I am always keen to try any walks we may pass, this tributary of the River Cray is only 8km long, so we may leave it for a few years. We were the only bus along here, and were unloading people who had shopped in Bexleyheath as we went towards Sidcup. A couple of large buildings dominate the skyline: Marlowe House, centre of Child protection work for boroughs from the river southwards to here, with Christopher House next door, is one of them. Legend has it that the Playwright had links with the town, when not spying for Walsingham or brawling in Deptford pubs; he certainly attended school down the road in Canterbury.
The other large building is going up at the moment. I just hope that it is not offices to stand empty, but we were not close enough to find out the names of the builders or anything useful for searching.
Caves to Linda before, to no avail, so I shall have to force her off a bus when Spring comes. Speaking of the weather, by now it had started to rain, and the bus, which had felt so warm as we boarded it, had chilled down considerably.
Chislehurst was the retirement home of the ex-Emperor Napoleon III and his wife Eugenie; after the splendours of Second Empire France, he may well have enjoyed the quiet of suburbia. But he only lived there for 3 years, and Eugenie moved to Farnborough after the death of their son, though she did not die till 1920. I think an exclamation mark there might be ageist, so I shall not add one.